Innovate UK has awarded national law firm Weightmans and software developers Frontier Labs a six figure sum for a research development project to help better predict the cost of personal injury matters in order to inform the money that their insurance clients put aside for payouts.
The grant will enable Weightmans and Frontier Labs to research, design, develop and test a proof of concept over an 18 month period, with the aim to create a product that augments and guides legal experts when estimating the amount that insurers will have to pay.
At the outset of a case, insurers must earmark a ‘reserve’ to cover any eventual claim payment, and accurate predictions are crucially important for personal injury cases – with some claims lasting several years, any reserve for damages and costs is held throughout by the compensator. Reserving is currently conducted on an individual basis by a case handler, but this is not an exact science and relies heavily on a case handler’s experience.
Stuart Whittle, director of innovation and business services at Weightmans said: “The legal industry is facing increased demands from clients for data-driven intelligence, but data alone cannot provide all of the answers. Through our work this year, we recognised to create truly useful intelligence, a human-centric approach is key. Working with Frontier Labs, we identified a real market opportunity to disrupt and innovate by developing this data-driven reserving tool with our people at its heart.
“The funding will enable us to push our proof of concept further, turning a great idea into a true innovation. The potential is huge, and if successful, the value of this product to clients could be in the hundreds of millions. Law firms and insurers will be able to use it to offer a faster, more effective service to clients with an earlier, more accurate estimate of costs.”